China’s anti-corruption watchdog said Sunday that it had opened a probe into the affairs of a top economic policy official, Liu Tienan, about six months after an investigative journalist publicly accused him of various wrongdoings. From the South China Morning Post:
A one-line Xinhua dispatch yesterday quoted unnamed officials within the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) as saying that Liu Tienan, the 58-year-old deputy director of the powerful National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), was being investigated, but it gave no details.
Sources close to the matter said Liu was formally placed under investigation yesterday and that his home and office were searched by CCDI officials on Saturday night.
Liu’s case was first announced on December 6 on the microblog account of a deputy editor of news magazine Caijing. Luo Changping reported on his verified Sina Weibo account a series of allegations against Liu, including that he fabricated academic credentials, improperly profited from his position and kept a mistress.
Liu made several public appearances in the following couple of weeks, including at a national working conference on development and reform on December 18. However, a source familiar with the case told the Post that Liu had been barred since mid-December from attending official activities related to external affairs.
Liu becomes the second vice-ministerial-level official to be targeted by new president Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, after the deputy party secretary of Sichuan province was placed under investigation in December. The announcement did not mention any specific allegations against Liu, who served as director of the National Energy Administration (NEA) until being replaced in March.
The NEA’s press office initially had called the allegations against Liu as “pure slander,” according to Gillian Wong of the Associated Press. Luo Changping, the journalist who initiated a public campaign against Liu last year, told The New York Times that he believed the official allegations were related to his own:
“I know there’s a direct connection, but I can’t say any more,” Mr. Luo said in a telephone interview.
“I had felt panicky before because nothing was happening, but I’ve breathed a sigh of relief now that this has happened,” he said, referring to the inquiry.